150 Students Participate in PHLF’s 20th Annual Architectural Design Challenge in Westmoreland County
This marks the 20th year that PHLF has partnered with the Westmoreland County Gifted Coalition to involve middle and high school students in an Architectural Design Challenge. “Each year we create a new design challenge, either in Westmoreland County or in the City of Pittsburgh,” said Education Coordinator Karen Cahall, “and each year students amaze us with the solutions they present and the beautifully crafted models they create.”
Thirty-four teams from 10 schools in Westmoreland County presented their models to a jury of architects on March 30 and 31 at Monessen High School. Their task was to: (1) explore their school and research its history; (2) analyze the pros and cons of their school; and (3) create a scale model showing a new or renovated space that would fulfill an unmet need in the school and strengthen connections with the community.
“What was fascinating about this Design Challenge,” said Executive Director Louise Sturgess, “was how students were able to change the culture of their school through architecture.” In the photo gallery below see the models––and come to PHLF’s library to read the written reports describing the remarkable programs and ideas.
A special thanks to the following people for serving as judges: Samantha Carter, Carnegie Mellon University School of Architecture; Roger Hartung, AIA, IKM Incorporated; Jan Mori, educator; Kelley Stroup, architectural historian; Jessica Stuck, Perfido Weiskopf Wagstaff + Goettel; and Paul Tellers, AIA.
“There are so many valuable skills that all 150 students acquire by participating in PHLF’s Design Challenge,” said Louise. “They become better at managing their time, meeting a deadline, and working in a team to reach a consensus and present a unified vision. We are always impressed with the amount of research students do and with the surveys they conduct to find out what people in the design challenge area think. They improve their math, art, science, writing, and presentation skills as they move through the various phases of the project. PHLF’s design challenge is the ultimate real-world application of so much of what is being taught in the classroom.”
The following middle school teams were awarded prizes on March 30, 2016:
- First Place: Franklin Regional “B”
- Second Place: West Hempfield
- Third Place: Wendover
- Honorable Mention: Yough “B”
- Honorable Mention: Harrold
- Honorable Mention: Franklin Regional “F”
- Student Award (best model according to peers): West Hempfield
- Penguin Award (overcoming a challenge especially well): Yough “D”
The following middle school teams were awarded prizes on March 31, 2016:
- First Place: Penn “D”
- Second Place: Monessen
- Third Place: Penn “C”
- Honorable Mention: Trafford “A”
- Honorable Mention: Trafford “D”
- Honorable Mention: Greensburg Salem “A”
- Student Award (best model according to peers): Trafford “A”
- Penguin Award (overcoming a challenge especially well): Penn “B”
The following high school teams were awarded prizes on March 31, 2016:
- First Place: Southmoreland
- Second Place: Yough
- Third Place: Penn Trafford
- Honorable Mention: Mount Pleasant
- Honorable Mention: Derry Area
- Student Award (best model according to peers): Penn Trafford
- Penguin Award (overcoming a challenge especially well): Monessen
A special thanks to Cinda Maxwell of Monessen High School for hosting the March 30 and 31 Design Challenge, and for all her efforts in coordinating PHLF’s program with the Westmoreland County Gifted Coalition. Thanks, too, to all the teachers who provided encouragement, guidance, and expertise to the students from October through March as they solved the 2015-16 Design Challenge.